Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bust It

I've mentioned it before
, and I thought about it again after reading Chris Crawford's interview, but trying to get the game industry to be more like Hollywood is not the best tactic; I'm not even sure it makes sense. Not yet, at least.

And for a simple reason. The tools used to make movies are easy and they get much, much easier every year.

I went to my nephew's christening on Sunday and was asked to film it. I had to learn four things. Open the view screen. Take off the lens cap. Turn the camera on. Press the red record button. That was it.

There are ways of making that process much more complex and costly.

But as of now, there is no way to make game development anywhere even close to that simple. Not without severely restricting the kind of game possible a la RPG Maker.


And if anybody out there likes hip-hop, you should check out Del tha Funky Homosapien's song Proto-Culture featuring Khaos Unique. The song's a paean to the golden age of gaming and even touches on the Playstation era. Here's a sample of the lyrics:

Del: I play games by Capcom with a power glove strapped on
On any platform, I don't spend my dough on Phat Farm
Video games, I got many to play
Before my life expires; fufill my desires

KU: Mastering your hardest boss
Shattering all stars across
Ain't hard to cross the finish line
Floatin' on Daytona
Wex, Gex or Klonoa, we get '‘em all at cost
RPG, Platform we transform like Macross

You might know Del better as a voice on two Gorillaz songs, "Clint Eastwood" and "Rock the House." Or maybe you know him as Deltron 3030, a name he explains in this interview:

"I got the idea from 'Megaman X' [the video game] because the regular 'Megaman' was kind of round, cartoony. They souped him up to 'Megaman X' and made him futuristic. I always thought that was a dope idea."


Patrick Dugan said...

Megaman? Shit man, 'round here he's Megaman X!

ArC said...

Your comparison is apples to oranges. A home video is simpler than making a production game. So? A homebrew RPG maker game is easier than making a Hollywood movie.

Johnny Pi said...

Hmm. Maybe it's a bad analogy. It happens sometimes. I'm trying to remember what I was thinking when I wrote it, but it does come off as a bit obtuse.

Well, the point was that a home video is simpler than making a home videogame. Those are two fairly similar processes. I was balking at treating them exactly the same (at this point in time) because the ease-of-use of many film products makes proficiency much higher than the similar roles in the videogame industry.

Maybe I'm just pissed that even the simplest videogame makers seem to require a much larger set of knowledge/software than film editing.

Eh, we can just toss the first half of this post in the garbage. I should add a warning to the top. If I can ever clarify this enough, I might put up a new post.

Thanks for writing in.

ArC said...

I can see what you mean, but then again, Hollywood blockbuster films employ more people, spend more money, more person-hours on one project than the games industry -- in other words they are arguably as complex or more -- and yet can come in on time and on budget which we rarely see in our industry except for EA and mmmmaybe Ubisoft.

The big structural problem games have, for now, it seems to me is that they are also software development, but as use of middleware game engines grows it seems to me that the role of code will move closer to what it is for CGI-laden movies: it'll require cleverness, research, and original solutions for each project, but also, a lot of the basic stuff will already be there and won't need to be reinvented.

And to me, the big non-structural problem the games industry has is a spectacular lack of ability to plan (and handle pre-production, which arguably is just an extension of the "failure to plan" point). A successful movie should have its "core" there from the initial concept; certainly it should be there by the time the script is ready to be shot. And from there, the director should know what they want and the entire cast and crew should know what they're going for.

On the other hand, if you have a game where the levels are built with no real thought as to gameplay, the gameplay decisions themselves are changed or even contradicted every few months, the coders are off adding features no one asked for or needed, and the vocal director stopped paying attention halfway through, then you might just have huge project delays.

So that's what I think of when I think of how the games industry should be more like Hollywood.

(also, apologies for coming off too confrontational in my previous post.)

And as for the comparative volume of technical knowledge, well, I'm still not entirely convinced. The sum total of the knowledge put to use in, say, Matrix 2 is staggering. (I had a huge list here originally but cut it since it was very long.)